Teachers Push for Books With More Diversity, Fewer Stereotypes

In these 2017 photos, students in Noelle Mapes' 3rd grade class complete an audit of the books in their library. They tracked the racial breakdown of the main characters in the stories and determined that they were overwhelmingly white. The exercise is meant to illuminate the lack of diversity in children's literature.  —Noelle Mapes

In these 2017 photos, students in Noelle Mapes' 3rd grade class complete an audit of the books in their library. They tracked the racial breakdown of the main characters in the stories and determined that they were overwhelmingly white. The exercise is meant to illuminate the lack of diversity in children's literature.

—Noelle Mapes

For decades, children's books in school libraries and classrooms have overwhelmingly featured white faces. And as the U.S. school-age population grows more diverse, students of color are less likely than white students to see books with characters that look like them or share their cultural background.

Some educators and children's book authors are trying to change that.

Nonprofits like We Need Diverse Books advocate for children's literature that better reflects the experiences of all young readers. In online communities, such as those formed around Twitter hashtags #DisruptTexts and #DiversityJedi, teachers, authors, and critics discuss which books are given to students in classrooms and what messages they convey. Even DonorsChoose.org, the school crowdfunding platform, recently pledged to match donations to teacher requests for diverse learning materials . . .

Read more by Sarah Schwartz at ED Week